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Review of the Museum and Art Gallery services : a report to the Department of Community Development, Sport & Cultural Affairs



Review of the Museum and Art Gallery services : a report to the Department of Community Development, Sport & Cultural Affairs

Other title

MAGNT Review December 2004 Morgan; Internal review of MAGNT. Final report March 2004


Morgan, Gary


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT




"This Review has looked at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory’s outputs relative to benchmark museum and art gallery activities and outputs around Australia and relative to international trends in museum practice. This Review has also considered possible service outcomes set against three funding scenarios." - Executive summary


This review was commissioned by Risk Management Services of the Department of the Chief Minister for the Northern Territory, on behalf of the Department of Community Development, Sport and Cultural Affairs. The review was put to Tender in October 2004, with the Tender awarded in November 2004. - Introduction; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).

Table of contents

Executive summary -- Part A: Introduction - Background -- Outputs of this review. Part B: Outputs of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory - A comparison of the MAGNT outputs in activities of collection development and management, public programs and research relative to those of other state museums and galleries - A discussion of the MAGNT outputs relative to national and international trends in museums and galleries - A consideration of the scientific focus of the MAGNT in terms of a) its management and outcomes relative to other museums and b) its contribution to Northern Territory economic activity and Government programs - A comparison of per square metre exhibition costs at the MAGNT relative to other institutions - A comparison of the acquisition budget of the MAGNT relative to other institutions. Part C: Possible budget scenarios - A discussion of three budget scenarios for the MAGNT with their consequent service outcomes. Part D: Summary of recommendations. Part E: Sources and acknowledgements. Part F: Appendices 1-8




Museums -- Northern Territory -- Public opinion; Museums -- Evaluation; Public relations -- Museums -- Northern Territory

Publisher name

Northern Territory Government

Place of publication



xviii, 124 pages ; 30 cm.

File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



Parent handle


Citation address


Related items

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/458000; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/457995

Page content

MAGNT Review December 2004 Morgan 63 7 A comparison of the acquisition budget of the MAGNT relative to those of other institutions Collection objects are acquired by museums and galleries via purchase/commission, donation/bequest, exchange or direct acquisition via field work. As a near universal rule, art galleries spend more on collection acquisition than do museums of a similar size, although the comparison is often of different acquisition methods. Art galleries purchase many of their new acquisitions, the remainder being donated/bequested to the institution (a major source of works for many of Australias and international galleries). State museums in Australia characteristically buy relatively little of their new acquisitions, and purchase is more common for objects of historical significance than for those of natural science. Natural science and archaeological objects are commonly acquired through field work of the museum staff and to a somewhat lesser extent by donation from other agencies, collectors and researchers. Thus acquisition costs for natural science specimens are usually subsumed within other cost centres such as research or field costs, rather than recorded as a separate acquisition line item. Some figures will demonstrate this. In 2002/03, major Australian museums acquired 500,400 items for their collections. Of these, 77.0% were collected in field work, 22.7% were donated and only 0.3% were purchased. (CAMD Survey data 2002/03). In that year, of the 8,192 items acquired by the MAGNT, 98.6% were from fieldwork, 0.8% donated and 0.6% purchased. The Queensland Museum reports that in 2001/02 and 2002/03, no new collection items were purchased, and in 2003/04 $26,000 was spent on collection acquisition. The Western Australian Museum and Australian Museum have not had acquisition funds for many years but have acquired tens or hundreds of thousands of items, largely natural science specimens, annually. As some measure of contrast, the National Museum of Australia spent $565,000 in 2003/04 on purchases for the collection. In 2002/03, the median number of items acquired across the CAMD museums was 1,884 and the average number 23,829. These figures reflect the very big differences in acquisition numbers for natural science museums on the one hand and history museums on the other. (Sources: CAMD Survey 2002/03; annual reports) Art gallery acquisition numbers and budgets are the most readily compared but even here, there are very significant differences in terms of both allocations and sources of funds. Box 21 sets down the art acquisition allocations for several galleries or, more accurately, the value of art works acquired through a combination of acquisition processes. Annual reports of institutions do not clearly identify sources of funds (in some cases, this can be seen as confidential and sensitive information) and there is some reluctance in institutions to reveal some details of their acquisition budgets. Even allowing for the variation in sources of funds, the art acquisition budget of the MAGNT can be seen to be extremely small, in recent years normally around $40,000 per year but on occasion being higher (eg. $87,000 in 2003/04) with a further $30,000-50,000 from sponsors. There is no dedicated budget allocation from